The government on Friday introduced a bill in Lok Sabha for superseding the Medical Council of India (MCI) and entrusting its responsibilities to a Board of Governors as part of efforts to develop an alternative regulatory mechanism for medical education to bring in transparency and quality. It also introduced the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill for setting up a university in Andhra Pradesh to provide avenues of higher education and research facilities primarily for the tribal population of the county.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda introduced The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for passage as the government had brought an ordinance in this regard on September 26, 2018, when Parliament was not in session. Under the provisions of the bill, MCI’s affairs will be entrusted to a Board of Governors consisting of eminent doctors for a period of one year or until the said Council is reconstituted, whichever is earlier.
The National Medical Commission Bill 2017 which seeks to replace MCI with National Medical Commission had been introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2017 and is pending. According to Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, in view of the arbitrary action by the MCI in disregard to the provisions of the said Act and regulations made thereunder, immediate steps were required to be taken by the government to put an alternative mechanism in place of the Council to bring transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country.
“Hence, it has been decided to supersede the Medical Council of India and entrust its affairs to a Board of Governors consisting of eminent doctors for a period of one year or until the said Council is reconstituted, whichever is earlier,” it read. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its 92nd report in March 2016 had severely indicted the Council.
The Committee recommended that the government should bring a new comprehensive Bill in Parliament at the earliest so as to restructure and revamp the regulatory system of medical education and medical practice and to reform the Medical Council of India. As Parliament was not in session and urgent legislation was required to be made, the President promulgated the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 on September 26, 2018.
Meanwhile, the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was introduced by Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar. As per the bill, Central University of Andhra Pradesh having its territorial jurisdiction extending to the whole state as specified in the first schedule to Central Universities Act, 2009 will be established.
“There shall be established a tribal university, which shall be a body corporate to be known as the Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh having its territorial jurisdiction extending to the whole of the state of Andhra Pradesh, to provide avenues of higher education and research facilities primarily for the tribal population of India,” the bill introduced by Javadekar read.